Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 28, 2012

Russell Senior Center receives grant

$500,000 will allow expansion into old Rail City Hardware building

RUSSELL — The Russell Senior Center on Ferry Street has received a $500,000 federal grant to fund the transformation of the old Rail City Hardware building into a new senior center.

Kentucky Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson will travel to Russell to present city leaders a check for the project at 1:30 p.m. April 4 at the center’s current home in the Russell Depot.

“We have a great need to keep the senior center open and growing and the current space (the Russell Depot) is getting very crowded,” said Ruth Hopkins, co-director of the center.

“We must provide more space to keep people coming.”

The Community Development Block Grant will pay for the design and construction of the new facility, said Russell Mayor Bill Hopkins. Russell has hired TSHD Architects to redesign the interior of the structure.

According to Ruth Hopkins, the mayor’s wife, a redesigned layout of the interior of the building will make it more accessible from the parking lot along the side and provide a new rear entrance; the city owns the old hardware building and the adjacent parking lot and both will be contributed to the use of the center.

On the wish list: a new kitchen, new restroom facilities, a card room, a small library, a dining area and a television and computer area.

“However, the design will be in keeping with the historical significance of the building with the city of Russell,” Mrs. Hopkins said.

Hopkins said the hope is to have a design, construction cost estimate as well as the bid packages prepared within the next 60 to 120 days, so construction can commence in the fall.

“If we can get started this fall and get it under the new roof and work on it all winter, we should be able to, by this time next spring, be thinking seriously about moving in,” he said.  

The Russell City Council has approved, and the mayor has signed, a commitment letter to the Kentucky Department of Local Government, which manages the grant. Representatives met with officials from the Department of Local Government earlier this month to learn more about making use of the grant.

Bryan Kirby of Richmond wrote the grant request, and the city council this week approved hiring Kirby’s firm, Community Economic Development Associates, as its grant plan administrator. CEDA submitted the low bid of $20,000 for the job among three applicants, Hopkins said.

Rep. Tanya Pullin, D-South Shore, was also instrumental in helping the center get the grant, according to the Hopkinses.

“She spent many hours and phone calls keeping in touch with the DLG officials and the governor’s office,” Mrs. Hopkins said.

“Mr. Kirby provided us a good, strong grant, with Representative Pullin and Judge-Executive Bobby Carpenter supporting our project.”

Carolyn Buckholz is co-director of the center with Mrs. Hopkins.

For more information about the center, call (606) 836-1021 or (606) 922-8989 or email seniors501@aol.com.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661. CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.

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